Friday, February 20, 2009

Meal Planning 101

Those two 3x5 cards taped together and hanging on the corner of the calendar are the answer to my dinnertime dilemmas.(Click on photo to see it more clearly.) It's our weekly meal plan. If you don't have one, I encourage you to try creating one.

- fewer trips to the grocery store
- less stress at dinnertime
- a varied diet
- no confusion about what's for dinner
- less wasted food
- fewer opportunities to eat out (not good for wallet or waistline!)

What I do is sit down with the calendar and write out a the days of the week on the card. Then, I make notes for things like kids' sports and lessons; nights any of us are not going to be home for dinner; and other events that may cut into dinnertime or dinner-prep time. I suppose I could do all of that on my Blackberry, but I'm not super techie like that.

Then, I fill in the blanks, thinking about variety, days I'm likely to go shopping, and any requests I've received from the family. If you're uber-organized, you can also use the supermarket's weekly sale flyers to help plan the meals. Sometimes I do that, but sometimes I don't.

For the plan here, I started yesterday because I realized my husband and I were going out to dinner and I should leave something for the cherubs to eat. I had some burritos in the freezer, which I thawed and heated up with cheese, made a big pot of rice, and we always have some salad in the fridge. Voila. I also made enough rice so that I'd have leftover to make Fried Rice tonight, to go along with the General Tso's Chicken that my daughter requested.

I realized I'd be out with the kids for several hours on Saturday at a Curling Party (I'll DEFINITELY post about that, having never curled before), and I know they're serving snacks, so I figured a) the kids won't be too hungry for dinner and b) I won't have much time to make dinner when we get home. Therefore, I've planned to have some soup I made last month and froze. I pulled the soup out of the freezer today and have it defrosting in the fridge.

I think we'll all be home Sunday and Monday, so I planned a couple of favorite meals for those nights. Then I thought the menu looked awfully meat-heavy, so I scheduled in some fish, chicken and turkey for the rest of the next week.

You might notice that I have Thursday off. It's one of my scheduled dinner and show nights with some friends. Though I'm sure there will be something in the house the family can eat, I'm leaving it up to them. I have the feeling they'll sneak off to Tasty Treat for something artery-clogging while I'm not looking.

No comments: